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MSc International Rural Development (Organic Agricultural Systems)

Royal Agricultural College

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Course Description

Organic Agricultural Systems is a specialist pathway on the MSc International Rural Development. It starts from the growing belief among consumers that intensive agriculture is leading to a worldwide degradation of soil quality, considered by many to be unsustainable, and examines organic systems of production, market demand, the standards to be met and the business potential of such systems within the context of both financial and ecological sustainability. The pathway will enable students to gain a good understanding of international organic markets and standards and how to meet these from a production management perspective, to address production methods from a temperate and tropical perspective and evaluate organic production as a strategy for poverty alleviation and food supply within developing economies. Students following this pathway study the following focus modules: Organic Production Systems ? initially focuses on regulatory, market and consumer attitudes to organic food before considering the actual and potential contribution of organic systems to food supply in both developed and emerging economies. The module also explores organic philosophies in relation to ecological, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Practical examples of farming systems and enterprise integration are then evaluated in relation to soil management and plant-soil relationships, animal health and nutrition, and enterprise performance. Soil and Water Management ? evaluates the traditional management strategies for soil and water as factors in food production and applies sustainable principles to their use and management in various agro-climatic zones. Soil is considered in terms of physical, chemical and biological properties in relation to nutrient cycling processes, structural quality, risk of erosion and contamination. Water in agriculture links climate and hydrology to water collection and use, crop requirements, potential evapotranspiration and water balances, water quality and salinisation, drainage and leaching, and water conservation techniques. Students will also study the six core modules: - Sustainable Development - Economics of the Environment - Physical Resource Appraisal - Biological Resource Appraisal - Planning, Policy and Development - Human Resource Development Entry Requirements The normal minimum entry requirement will be a BSc Honours degree at upper second level or an HND award with a Distinction profile. Mature candidates with significant relevant work experience and lower academic qualifications may also be considered for entry, following personal interview with the Programme Manager. For students whose first language is not English, the College will accept International English Language Test (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5 average with no element below 5.5. Students with other qualifications, including overseas awards and alternative English language qualifications, are advised to contact Admissions to discuss the suitability of their award for entry to their preferred programme of study.

Organic Agricultural Systems is a specialist pathway on the MSc International Rural Development. It starts from the growing belief among consumers that intensive agriculture is leading to a worldwide degradation of soil quality, considered by many to be unsustainable, and examines organic systems of production, market demand, the standards to be met and the business potential of such systems...

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